Western Carolina University

Location: Cullowhee, North Carolina
Website: http://www.wcu.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Western Carolina University has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more here.

  • University of North Carolina System: State of the First Amendment

    January 10, 2006

    FIRE teamed up with the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy to release the Report on the State of the First Amendment in the University of North Carolina System. The Report notes that UNC System’s many speech codes and illiberal restrictions on religious groups would likely not survive a legal challenge. It also reveals that “13 out of the 16 schools in the UNC System have at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.”

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Yellow Light Policies
  • University Policies: Use of Computers and Data Communications 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies, Statement

    Harassment of other users may be the sending of unwanted messages or files. Violations include, but are not limited to:

    * interfering with the legitimate work of another user, to include sending of chain mail or other non-university related messages;
    * the sending of abusive or obscene messages via computers;
    * the use of computer resources to engage in abuse of computer personnel or other users.

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  • University Policies: University Facilities Use Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies, Statement

    No outdoor assembly may be conducted within 200 feet of a childcare playground or facility during operating hours, within 50 feet of any building, or within 50 feet of any other individual’s or group’s outdoor assembly. The University may place barriers or other boundary indicators that must be respected during an outdoor assembly.

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  • Code of Student Conduct: Definitions 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    "Sexual Harassment" is defined as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is so
    severe, persistent, or pervasive that it negatively affects the victim's activities or creates
    an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational or employment
    environment.

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  • University Policies: Solicitation, Assemblies, and Public Addresses 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies, Statement

    Subject to Additional Guidelines described below, Recognized Student Groups and University Groups may conduct Assemblies or Public Addresses without prior approval at any exterior campus location. The use of the Picnic Grounds, however, requires the submission of a reservation form to the Director of the University Center at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the Assembly. Groups comprised of eight (8) or more persons should notify the Director of University Police and Parking Services and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the Assembly/Public Address so that safety measures may be provided if necessary.

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  • Sexual Harassment and Other Unlawful Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    Actions deemed to violate this Policy include, without limitation, the following examples: ... To continue verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when an employee or student has indicated, by word or action, that such conduct is unwanted.

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Green Light Policies
  • Code of Student Conduct: Definitions 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies, Statement

    The term "Bullying" means any pattern of written, electronic, or verbal communication, behavior,
    gesture, or any physical act(s) that is threatening or intimidating at any University sponsored function
    or uses any University network which (i) places a person in actual and reasonable fear of harm to
    his/her person or damage to his/her property, or (ii) creates a hostile environment by substantially
    interfering with or impairing a student's educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or a
    University student employee's ability to perform the essential functions of his/her job.

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  • Code of Student Conduct: Definitions 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    The term "unlawful harassment" means unwelcome or unsolicited speech or conduct
    based upon race, color, creed, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability, military
    veteran status, political affiliation or sexual orientation that creates a hostile environment
    for students, or denies or limits a student's ability to participate in or to receive benefits,
    services, or opportunities in the University's programs, or interferes with an employee's
    work performance. ...
    UNC Board of Governors Policy Manual 700.4.2 states and requires:
    No student shall threaten, coerce, harass or intimidate another person or identifiable
    group of persons, in a manner that is unlawful or in violation of a constitutionally valid
    University policy, while on University premises or at University-sponsored activities based
    upon the person’s race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, creed, disability, or veteran status. No student shall engage in unlawful
    harassment leading to a hostile environment. Unlawful harassment includes conduct that
    creates a hostile environment by meeting the following criteria: It is:
    a. Directed toward a particular person or persons;
    b. Based upon the person’s race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual
    orientation, gender-identify, creed, disability, or veteran status;
    c. Unwelcome;
    d. Severe or pervasive;
    e. Objectively offensive; and
    f. So unreasonably interferes with the target person’s employment, academic
    pursuits, or participation in University-sponsored activities as to effectively deny
    equal access to the University’s resources and opportunities.

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This school does not have any media coverage at this time.
  • ‘Free Speech Semester’ at Western Carolina

    January 26, 2011

    On Monday, Western Carolina University (WCU) commenced a semester-long “Celebration of the First Amendment” with a presentation by Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center. The presentation was sponsored by WCU’s campus newspaper, The Western Carolinian, and funded by a 2010-11 Louis Ingelhard First Amendment Award Grant from the College Media Association.  WCU is one of the 27 percent of schools we reviewed in our 2011 speech code report that have yellow-light ratings, which means that it has policies that could too easily be used to ban or excessively regulate protected speech. (More information about WCU’s speech […]

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